Governor of New York Andrew M Cuomo has proposed to ban single-use expanded polystyrene (Styrofoam) food containers.

The prohibition is a part of the governor’s 5th proposal of 2020 State of the State Agenda.

The ban will come into effect in January 2022 and is expected to be ‘the strongest statewide ban in the US’.

The initiative is a part of the governor’s commitment to reduce environmental pollution statewide, which also includes a ban on single-use plastic bags and polystyrene packaging materials called packing peanuts.

Governor Cuomo said: “Styrofoam is one of the most common pollutants and a public health hazard that impacts humans and the environment alike.

“From take-out containers to packing peanuts, this material is everywhere and it will continue to pollute our waters and harm our wildlife for generations to come if we do not act.

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“With this proposal, we can build on our nation-leading initiatives to protect the environment and move New York another step closer to a greener, more sustainable future.”

The proposed bill would enable the State Department of Environmental Conservation to review and take action on other packaging material if necessary.

Those who will not follow the new regulation will be penalised with a fine of $250, which would be increased if repeated.

The ban exempts pre-packaged foods that are sealed prior to receipt and packaging for uncooked or raw meat, fish or eggs.

Expanded polystyrene is one of the biggest contributors to environmental litter. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the US produces over three million tonnes of non-biodegradable polystyrene.

The ban of single-use plastic bags in New York State is expected to come into force in March 2020.